Make Time Warner Pay For Shoddy Service By Demanding Free Premium Channels

According to a tipster, Time Warner Cable resets their complaint list every three months, allowing users with shoddy service to continually request perks like free premium channels year-round without reprisal.

The tipster writes:

Every three months, I call Time Warner Cable in New York City and complain about the service, and they give me free HBO for six months, or something like that. My cousin, who worked in the IT department at Time Warner, told me that the “complaint” list resets every three months, so after that, they don’t know that you complained. Four phone calls a year can give you all sorts of premium channels and the like.

Our Time Warner internet connection dies more frequently than Kenny, and free premium channels are our favorite way to mourn. Here’s how we do it:

  • The internet dies. Again.
  • We call Time Warner.
  • Time Warner checks for outages in our area. There are none. Ever.
  • Time Warner expresses befuddlement over the problem.
  • Time Warner tells us to power cycle the modem. This does nothing. Ever.
  • Time Warner offers its only solution: dispatch a tech to replace the modem. Again.
  • We explain this happens regularly, and ask for free premium channels.
  • Time Warner laughs and explains that they don’t offer free premium channels.
  • We promise that they do, and ask them to consult our scroll-length list of outages before checking with a supervisor.
  • We sit on hold for 15 minutes.
  • Time Warner gives us the free premium channels.

We hate you, Time Warner. Fix your damn internet and we’ll stop asking for free premium channels.

(Photo: Meghann Marco)


Edit Your Comment

  1. ZaerApollo says:

    My God, I need to call more often. Every time the internet connection goes kaput they tell me there’s no problem in the service area or to reset my modem.


  2. U-235 says:

    Its stories like this that make me happy that I live in an area with competition in the cable market! I was forced to use Comcast at my previous residence, but was able to switch to better (and cheaper) service with Knology. They actually DO something when the internet goes wonky.

    • Ghede says:

      @U-235: I would have competition, as FiOS finally moved to my neighborhood… but not my building. We think Cablevision is giving the landlord kickbacks to keep them out. Verizon sure as hell doesn’t know why it isn’t in the building.

  3. Brontide says:

    I’ll have to remember this for when I get cable again.

    Around here, maybe because of competition, RoadRunner service is generally more reliable than power. I have 2 or three dead squirrel power outages every year plus the occasional thunder and snow storm outages, but I only loose internet maybe twice a year.

  4. veronykah says:

    Whenever my internet with TW is out, I call and the automated answer is “we are aware of the service outage in your area and are working hard to fix it”
    Can I still get free channels? I’ve also had my tv go out…
    NEVER happened when I had Speakeasy…In a year I NEVER had my internet just not work, ever.

    • GirlCat says:

      @veronykah: Our Roadruner goes out constantly, and whenever I called I’d get the recording that there were outages in my area, so I never bothered to talk to a CSR. Well, it turns out that they keep no records of any of their service outages, so when I called to lodge a big complaint about all the many outages, they said Oh, we have no record of anything at all and maybe you’re lying. When I finally reached someone who was not a f-cking passive-aggressive moron, he explained that I have to call and speak to a CSR to “open a ticket” every single time I have an outage if I want any kind of compensation. So, basically, you have to initiate record-keeping with TW. I assume it’s because they screw up so persistently and on such a vast scale that they cannot afford to maintain record storage.

  5. Osi says:

    Im not afraid to post where I live to provide an nice description of where to stay away from … Juneau, AK. :)

    There is only one cable provider here and that is GCI. They are so stupid, they are unable to provide even that …

  6. maxx22 says:

    Of course, it is more cost effective to have really good diagnosis and service by telephone. Sending out a tech is vastly more expensive.

    But Time Warner isn’t about doing things in an economical manner. It is about building up its expenses and then passing them onto consumers “cost plus” through all-to-easy to obtain rate increases from complacent, incompetent or corrupt regulators.

    It is only after Time Warner gets told NO to rate increases that they will even think about controlling expenses. they

  7. Desk_hack says:

    Lordy. Time Warner has been doing “upgrades” on the Westside of Los Angeles for over a month now, which has caused audio drop-outs that last several seconds at a time and continue throughout a program. It’s maddening and nearly impossible to watch entire channels. I talked to TW CS at least eight times and had three techs come to the house before I finally got the answer of “this is happening all over the area, and it will be going on for at least another month”. I’ve gotten a total of $43 in credits, the last chunk from a supervisor who read me the riot act in his passive-aggressive CS manner for calling so often (and certainly wasn’t going to offer free channels).

    Tomorrow they’re getting a call at the Exec office, which I can now reach thanks to a number I found posted on this site.

  8. Acd says:

    I added a Vwerizon DSL because my Time Warner internet went out so often. This sounds like a good way to recoup some of the money I now have to pay Verizon in the form of upgraded Time Warner premiums. Thanks for the idea!

  9. provolone says:

    The IT department probably doesn’t have the disk space to store 3 months of Time Warner complaints at a time.

  10. chauncy that billups says:

    Damn – I never have a problem with time warner. I guess I can’t get away with asking for free channels.

  11. GiselleBeardchen says:

    I switched from TW’s Roadrunner to Verizon DSL three weeks ago. Service outtages: with TW, at least twice daily (brief)for 60 days prior to switching. With Verizon since switching= 0.

    I did secure free Showtime, Strz, TMC and HD Pack for the remainder of this year before leaving though.

  12. temporaryerror says:

    When I had SBCGlobal/ATT DSL, I NEVER remember having an outage. Now, with Cox cable I have found that outages are a way of Cox life.

  13. yso says:

    what’s the “scroll-length list of outages”? Something they have on their computers? Our modem dies on a regular basis – a recycle of the modem works but the fact that we have to do it every day is ridiculous. Would love to hit them up for something – the last time they sent techs out, we had 4 different ones who came through who did 4 different things (none of which fixed the problem) until finally a highed level tech realized it was the wire connecting the building not just our apartment.

    • bairdwallace says:

      @yso: A lot of the time, cable modems are sent out with a default ip of, and a lot of routers are set to the same default ip. So these two devices have the same IP, and after a few hours, knock each other out. The permanent solution is to reconfigure the routers IP. I’ve seen this at at least two friends houses, the tech support people never seem to realize this can happen. So if your connection works fine for half the day, then just up and dies and you have to reset your modem and your router, check their IPs, and adjust accordingly (usually the modem has its default IP written on the bottom).

  14. Happy Homemaker says:

    I’ve had numerous problems the past two months with TW with my internet and phone connections dropping out. I tried resetting my modem and that did nothing. I had to call them using my cell phone just to get a tech to come to the house. Wouldn’t you know it, when the tech did arrive we were in the middle of a power outtage, so it didn’t do any good and we had to send him away. The power outtage (amazingly), seemed to fix the modem temporarily. After 4 days were back at it again with no dial tone, and no internet connection. I have an autistic daughter so I have to have a phone. I called TW service back up and they said they would send someone out. No one showed. I called back again, this time a wee bit annoyed and asked what could be done for my bill. They gave me a weeks worth of credit on my bill and my phone line went dead again before she could send the service tech out again. Sunofa…. I had to call back using my cell phone to set up the service call and make sure the credit went through. It did and they said the tech would be out within the next 3 hours. He was. Come to find out my modem was getting enough power outside of my house and needed some kind of amplifier to increase the power. The downside to it is, the next time there is a power outtage the modem will be fried beyond belief and I’ll need a service call every time. Oh well, at least it works now. (Another tip for TW is to call periodically to see what specials they’re running. For example, they were running a special of HBO for $5/month and Skinemax for $5/month for a year for new customers only. When I went to the office to pay my bill I asked if I could get the deal, they said sure, even though I’ve been with them for 5 years. It pays to ask, you never know.)

  15. Raekwon says:

    Wow just like Comcast except for the freebies.

    -Call and complain Internet is out.
    -Get passed from agent to agent until I find someone who knows what a DNS server is
    -No outages in area
    -Power cycle modem
    -Tell me my router is the problem
    -Set up network without router and still no fix
    -Set up appointment to have a tech come out
    -Tech finds nothing wrong
    -Complain and get nothing in compensation

  16. mienai says:

    “The internet dies. Again.
    We call Time Warner.
    Time Warner checks for outages in our area. There are none. Ever.
    Time Warner expresses befuddlement over the problem.”

    In my case, I chat with online support. But, you are absolutely right, that is ALWAYS how it is. Within the last 3 months, I’ve had more problems with their internet than I’ve had in the last 6-7 years (since I got it from Adelphia). I’m just waiting til FiOS is available in my neighborhood. Because this is ridiculous.

  17. infmom says:

    Charter’s just as bad. Although I’ve discovered that if you get dumped into their automated system, “There’s a problem” gets you a person.

    Who will always assume that the problem is in your equipment, not theirs, and who will not listen when told it isn’t.

    Extra bonus points for getting a trememdous case of the heebie jeebies when you say “If you really want me to hook a computer directly to the modem it’s going to have to be my Mac laptop.”

    Never got anything more than a piddly little credit for absent service, though. What do you do when you don’t want free premium channels?

  18. thatgirlinnewyork says:

    I usually have to stay on the phone an hour with time warner to get anything done, let alone comped service. that said, i have been given the consideration of a free month or two, because their service can be atrociously bad. one HAS to complain each time it goes out, and when necessary, demand prorated service discounts based on how many hours or days they’ve missed.

    but lately, as verizon FIOS service picks up neighborhoods in nyc, i threaten to go to them. who knows whether finally getting a competitor here will improve things, but the threat is real to them. we’ve been pitched a “guaranteed” 2-year rate with time warner if we sign a contract, now that verizon’s on the scene. no way i’m giving up that veto power.

  19. Amy Alkon000 says:

    Time Warner is just horrible. I spent an hour and 20 minutes on the phone tonight — first waiting on hold for 20 minutes with that “We value you as a customer” recording.

    My service has been intermittent for a week. I have spent probably five or six hours total on the phone with them, mostly with total nimrods. My favorite was the guy in the Philippines who told me I had to delete my browser cookies. Right. And that will somehow make my dot-Mac Internet backup work when I try to put a document in it?

    From my e-mail to them:

    This past Monday or the Friday before, can’t remember which, I was eventually told (after hours on the phone the first few times) that the problem was that your company signed up too many subscribers and your company needed to fix “the node,” and needed a part…which they had to ORDER!…which would take days to arrive…which they would have today. Unbelievable. Your company knows it has the number of subscribers it does because YOU GET CHECKS FROM ALL OF US!

    The city of Moorpark in the past has fined you for treating customers as I’ve been treated. I also suggest you look on the Internet — Google the name of your company and “intermittent service” and see the hits you get. Check out — Cory Doctorow’s piece on his experience — mirroring mine.

    I have to stay home all day tomorrow, with my substandard Internet service, again waiting for a technician. And not one of these people in your South Texas office could tell me if that “node” was replaced or fixed. Again, how would you feel if you paid for service and got this level of service, then had to invest so much time and aggravation into trying to get what you pay for? Please make this right.

    I would have Internet service with ANYBODY else if another cable company existed. At this point, I’d have it with the garbage company if I could.

  20. Amy Alkon000 says:

    I just faxed my letter to Rocky Delgadillo, our city atty.

    If you live in LA, please contact him and pressure him to bring suit against TW, as he apparently did for their service (or rather, their “service”) in the previous year.

    It’s just disgusting this company has a monopoly.

    Delgadillo’s site is here: []

    Fax is here: FAX: (213) 978-8312